Backing up a website is something that every blogger should do. This ensures that all your blog posts are intact if anything happens, and all you need to do is re-publish them.
If you don’t, you will experience a blogging nightmare.
But how can you do this? I want to show you today several options by which you could backup your website with free or premium options. In the end, I strongly encourage you to choose one and take action.
Why do you need to backup your website?
First of all, allow me to show you the importance of backing up a website. Obviously, the end-all and be-all of backing up a website is to have a copy of the things you have there. Then, you can use the copy of your website crashes—you do not have to re-write the content again.
1. Safeguarding against human error
We all make mistakes. It is either you or your blog manager or virtual assistant who’s gonna make it. For example, someone could accidentally delete content from your website.
The first option to solve this problem is to identify the problem, and the second one is simply restoring your website to a previous state.
The second option is definitely a better choice, but you cannot do this without a backup. If you choose this, it takes only a few minutes to get your website back up and running again.
2. Problem reversal after an update
Systems like WordPress or Shopify continuously improve their software programs. These improvements trickle to you through what is called an update.
As a user, you really have no option but to go through this update. If you don’t, you are opening yourself to vulnerabilities.
However, updates can also be cumbersome. Not all of them work in the way they are intended. Sometimes, these updates can cause something to go terribly wrong—so wrong that it will crash your website.
Ideally, you have to back up your website before going through this update. However, if anything goes wrong after the update, you can simply restore your website to its original state but still have the update implemented.
3. Prevention of data loss
As a blogger, I am assuming that you have already published hundreds of blog posts. You spent a lot of time working on your material, or you have paid a freelance writer to write and upload your blog post for you.
Then, by mistake or by any kind of technical malfunction, your entire library of blogs got deleted.
Now you are in trouble. If you do not have a backup, you will have to re-upload all your blog posts one by one.
The sad thing about this is that all your SEO gains are gone. In Google’s eyes, your re-published blog posts are new content. But if you have a backup—you just have to restore your website, and it will be as if nothing happened.
4. Re-publication after compatibility issues
As a blogger, you are likely using WordPress or a content management system. Because of this, you will also have to use plugins or applications. It is also likely that you bought a theme, or you are using a free one.
Despite how good developers are, there will always be a possibility for compatibility issues to occur. This is because each app or theme you use has elements, some of which may cause confusion to the programming.
As a result of this, your blog may disappear. Now, you may think that you can just simply remove the theme or plugin, and then everything should be fine.
Well, this may or may not happen. The worst-case scenario is that the theme has done damage to your site. And if this is what happened and you have no backup, you are doomed.
5. Protection against hackers
Hackers are there not only because they want money but because they just want to do it. Unfortunately, some hackers are merely testing their skills, and you could be one of the unlucky victims.
Hackers are not likely to succeed if your website has a 2-factor authentication system. However, this is rare for bloggers. Typically, WordPress only requires your password to your admin console.
If you have been hacked, you can do the following:
- Recover access to your account
- Contact the hosting service provider
No matter what choice you make, it is likely that the hacker has caused some serious damage, like removing your theme, your blog, and your email subscription form—the list can go on and on.
If you have a backup, you can restore your website to its original state. Without it, all your efforts are gone, and you will have to start over again.
6. Resolving malware infections
What is malware?
Malware is a program that creeps into a system. It is software designed to damage your computer, system, servers, and many more.
Because of the damage they did, you could lose your files. You might think that your website is secure, and malware cannot possibly penetrate it. Sure, but if you use plugins and themes, these things actually make your website vulnerable.
One way or another, you will find out that malware found its way into your system. The thing is, we usually find out about these things when it is already too late—they have done damage already.
If you are backing up your site daily, you can easily restore your website to its original state after eliminating the malware.
7. Website migration
The last reason you want a backup is migration. Migration is a process where you are moving your website to another web hosting service provider.
For example, let us say that you are currently hosted at Hostgator, and then you decided to be hosted by Siteground.
The typical process is to create a website with Siteground and then re-upload all your content again. Can you just imagine how tedious this is?
But if you have a backup file, you just have to copy this and then upload it to your Siteground control panel. You can even ask them to do it for you. From there, your website will be up and running as if nothing happened.
Backing up your website: FREE options
Backing up a website is typically free if you are using WordPress. It is not unusual if you have a web hosting provider that offers this. Bluehost does not offer free website backup unless you are at the top-most plan, but some web hosting service providers do—they typically back up your site free once a day.
Now, if your plan does not have this feature. I have some recommendations for you.
1. Updraft Plus
This is a free plugin that you can use to back up your WordPress site for free. It does have a premium plan that is paid but let us focus on the free version.
Here are the reasons why you would want to use this:
- 98% rating from users
- 3 million installations
- Automatic restore option
- Can back up encrypted databases
- Can backup to DropBox, Google Drive, SFTP, FTP, and others
This app supports both manual and automated backups. You can choose to do backups daily, weekly, and even hourly—the choice is really up to you.
2. BackWPup Free
This one has 400,000+ active installations, and it is second to Updraft in terms of popularity. It is compatible with many versions of WordPress, and it also allows you to schedule your backups.
One of the best things that this app can do is choose which content to backup. Like the first one, this one also has a paid version if you want more features.
Here are some things you have to consider:
- Can backup databases
- Has XML support for WordPress
- Can generate files for your installed plugins
- Can do several formats like ZIP, TAR, and others.
You can choose to store your backup in a directory, Dropbox, Microsoft Azure, and others. The restoration process is also simple. You have the option to restore your backups from your WordPress admin if you like.
3. WP Clone by WP Academy
This free plugin has over 200,000 installs s far, and it only works with WordPress 3.0 or higher. It allows you to clone your WordPress website and then move it to another web host if you want to. You can even use another domain for it.
Here are some things to think about:
- Does not need FTP access for the backup process
- It does not create WordPress files for the system, and what this means is that you will have significantly less migration time
- Can fetch backup files directly from the host’s connection
Note that this plugin is open-source, which means that you could expect many updates over a period of time.
4. BackUp WordPress
With over 200,000+ installs, this one works with WordPress 3.9 or higher. It has more than 600 surveys and has a perfect rating of 5 stars.
Here are some of its features:
- Easy to use
- No need to set-up
- Works with low memory requirement; works perfectly for shared hosting
- You can schedule the backup process as you deem fit
- Has a notification option via email; the backup file can also be emailed to you
The backup system uses only ZIP and mysqldump. They are faster and much easier to access when you need them.
Backing up your website: PREMIUM options
Now, let us take a look at premium plugins.
1. VaultPress by Jetpack
If you have been using WordPress for a while now, you know that Jetpack is a premium plugin maker for the CMS. Jetpack is a company that was founded by one of the co-founders of WordPress.
There are three plans that you can choose from called Backup Daily, Security Daily, and the Complete Plan.
Here are the features:
- Automated daily backups
- One-click restores
- Unlimited site storage
- Daily scanning of your site for malware
- Comment and form protection
- Unlimited video hosting
- Real-time backup
This plugin also offers a backup f your site search. This is great if you are one of those bloggers that analyze their site search results. You can get VaultPress between $9.95 per month and $49.95 per month.
This company offers a 100% restore rate with secure backups in the cloud. It also offers bulk site updates and free staging.
Here are its features:
- Offsite storage
- Daily backups
- Incremental backups if you need them
- Migration with zero downtime
The app is offered in four plans that range between $7 and $20 monthly. So naturally, the features you get depend on the plan that you avail. While almost all plans have similarities, the most basic plan does not offer security features like malware scan, login protection, and so much more.
The last one offers a reliable backup system that has been around since 2010. It takes only a few clicks to get the plugin working, and you can work it out directly from your WordPress dashboard.
The plugin is offered in three plans that range between $80 and $199 per year. All of this has at last one year for plugin updates and ticketed support. However, you are limited to only 1GB of storage space. You can only upgrade this to 5GB of storage if you get the Gold Plan at $199 per year.
Summary: How to Backup Your Website with Free or Premium Options
Backing up your website is not an option—it is something that you should do. Unfortunately, there is no perfect system that can guarantee a crash.
If you have been blogging for a while, I am sure that you have published a lot—you have also spent so much time changing your blog’s landing page, added several functionalities, and so much more.
While a backup file does not always guarantee that your website will be back in its original shape or form, it guarantees that your pages’ content will be there.
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